by Thomas Brandon
Charley’s Aunt is the great classic farce of British Theatre and has rightly remained a favourite with audiences for well over a hundred years.
First performed in 1892 it starred W.S. Penley, a popular comedian of the day, as Lord Fancourt Babberley and the author himself, Brandon Thomas, as Sir Francis Chesney. It enjoyed a record-breaking four year West End run with 1,466 performances before achieving equal success on Broadway. It has been constantly revived over the years and has been filmed five times, most notably with Jack Benny, the great American comedian.
What has made Charley’s Aunt so enduring? Well, it is a beautifully constructed piece by a master craftsman who knows how to set up very funny, comic situations.
The dialogue is very witty and feels remarkably modern for a play of that period. There are also some brilliantly entertaining characters such as Lord Fancourt Babberley a loveable young man, dressed as an old lady, who gets into the most hilarious situations as he is pursued by the money-grabbing Spettigue!
Aside from the farce, however, the play is also a romantic comedy with four charming love stories which make Charley’s Aunt one of the most happy and good natured plays ever written.
It has been a great pleasure to direct the play and I do hope you enjoy tonight’s performance as much as we have enjoyed working on Charley’s Aunt.